How to Introduce Peanut Butter to a Toddler

Peanuts are getting a bad rap as more people develop peanut allergies. Since a peanut allergy can be life-threatening, it's natural to worry about giving your little tyke peanut butter. Still, peanut butter is a healthy food, full of protein and good fats. It's also a time-tested, kid-favorite. If you can get your picky eater to like peanut butter, you'll have one more nutritious treat to add to the list of foods she'll eat and enjoy.

  1. Wait until your child is at least 2 years old before you introduce peanut butter to his diet. Before this age, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) considers peanut butter a choking hazard, especially in large chunks. If your child is high-risk for having a peanut allergy, the AAP suggests waiting until your child is at least 3 years old to be introduced to the food.

  2. Feed your child her favorite foods for four days before you introduce peanut butter. You probably remember the "four day rule" from the baby days when you were first introducing solids — only introduce one new food in a four-day period, watching for allergic reactions. To be on the safe side, with something as allergenic as peanuts, try the four-day rule a few times.

  3. Spread a thin layer of creamy peanut butter on a cracker or piece of toast. Since peanut butter is sticky, it can be hard to chew on soft bread. Crackers and toast are better options.

  4. Watch for signs of an allergic reaction. This might include difficulty breathing, itchy eyes, hives, stomach ache, swelling and red spots. Breathing problems can be life-threatening. Reactions are likely to occur soon after eating the peanut butter, but keep in mind that they can occur later.

  5. Continue to monitor your child when she eats peanut butter until you feel she's comfortable with it. Even if she doesn't experience an allergic reaction, peanut butter can still present a choking hazard. While your child is still young, you should always supervise her while she eats peanut butter.